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Special Keys


© December 2005 Tony Lawrence

New Mac users are sometimes confused by graphical depictions of special keys. For example, a menu or a help topic displays a picture of a circle with an arrow leaving it through an opening - it almost looks like the symbol for "male", but the circle is open rather than closed. What the heck is that supposed to mean? Well, it means the "Escape" key - obvious once you know it. but pretty hard to guess otherwise.

Most of the symbols aren't that hard to figure out, though the first time I saw page up and page down I was completely baffled. The "Option" key symbol wasn't helpful, either. At least the up and down arrows are obvious, though Home and End might confuse some.

You an get a list of all the symbols through Mac Help. Switch to Finder, choose Help or use Apple-?, and search for "symbols for special keys"


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Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Sierra: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan

iOS 10: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal, Second Edition

Take Control of iCloud, Fifth Edition




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